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Anesthesia: Health Risks

Topic Overview

As part of preparing for a medical procedure requiring anesthesia, you will have an exam to check on your health and to identify any health risks that may affect your anesthesia care. Tell your anesthesia specialist about your health history, including any other surgeries you have had and any health problems.

Be sure to tell the specialist if you are pregnant, if you smoke, or if you have alcohol or drug problems. Also let him or her know if you or a family member have had past problems with anesthesia.

Prepare a list of all medicines that you take on a regular basis or have taken recently, including the dose. Be sure to include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and/or herbal products.

Your anesthesia specialist will identify conditions you have that could affect your anesthesia care. He or she will closely watch your vital body functions to reduce potential complications.

Some medical problems may increase your risk of complications when you are receiving anesthesia. These include:

  • Heart and cardiovascular problems such as angina, a previous heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, or valvular heart disease.
  • Neurological problems such as a stroke or seizures.
  • Lung problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).
  • Airway abnormalities.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Neuromuscular disease, such as muscular dystrophy.
  • Liver disease.

Credits

Current as of: December 13, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
John M. Freedman MD - Anesthesiology

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